GDC 2015 presentations

The Game Developers Conference took place last week in San Francisco. As I am starting to see more speakers publish their slides, I am creating this post to keep track of some them (this list is not meant to be exhaustive).

For a more extensive list, Cédric Guillemet has been garnering links to GDC 2015 papers on his blog.

Bret Victor – Seeing Space

Following on his previous talks on data visualization and programming interfaces, Bret Victor presents the idea of what he calls a “seeing space”, meant to improve understanding of problems in the context of collaborative engineering.

Seeing Spaces from Bret Victor on Vimeo.

Volumetric light scattering

Here are a couple of links on how to render light scattering effect (aka. volumetric shadows):


John Carmack on physically based rendering at QuakeCon 2013

In this (slightly over) one hour talk, 1½ hour including Q&A, John Carmack walks through the physics of light, the early days of rendering, the current state of the art, and the direction it is headed at. In short: until we can afford path tracing, we’re approximating it.

Ambient shadows in The Last of Us

Last month at SIGGRAPH, Michał Iwanicki of Naughty Dogs presented his talk “Lighting technology in The Last of Us”, in which he focused on the technique they used for ambient shadows. In short: light maps and analytic occlusion with ellipsoid approximations of objects. Clever!

Understanding quaternions

Quaternion are a very useful tool in 3D, but also one that is unintuitive and difficult to get a natural feeling about. The talk Jim Van Verth, of EssentialMath, gave earlier at GDC2013 explains some facts about quaternions and how they work, by looking back at their discovery: Understand Quaternions.

Update: on a side note, here is a trick for faster quaternion – vector multiplication.

How to use light to make better demos?

This is the third day at Revision, and my contribution this year is the talk I gave yesterday. Unlike last year, this seminar is not technical at all but focused on the design aspect and, to some extent, how it relates to the technical one. The context is demomaking, but many ideas are still valid in other media.

There were some issues with the recording unfortunately, which means some elements are missing (you will notice some blanks at the beginning). In particular after 5mn, there is an important point which was completely cut out. The text was:

Throwing a new technique at whatever you’re doing is not going to make it any better. It’s only going to change what you can achieve. There are two sides of image creation: the technical one and the artistic one. Different techniques allow to do different things, and the more techniques you master, the better you understand what you can and cannot do with them, and how to do it. Technique becomes a tool that changes how you can express yourself.

Here are the slides with notes (~5MB), or a low quality version (~1MB).

For more demoscene related talks, here is the full list of seminars at Revision 2013.